Aug 022015
 

Yesterday it reached 97°.  Today will be almost as hot.  We may have a couple of temperate days Wednesday and Thursday.  I’m staying heat hunkered.  I would love to have a nice rain storm, but this Republican-climate summer appears locked in.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Just a few short weeks ago, the Kochs and the Republican party were in what one Republican operative said was an "all-out war" over who would control the party going forward. The Kochs have been systematically putting a ground force in place across the nation to build their own extremely sophisticated database, one that they would allow Republican candidates to use (excepting Trump). This alarmed the RNC because all that valuable information was not being held by them. That and the whole thing about how "it’s very dangerous and wrong to allow a group of very strong, well-financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone to have control over who gets access to the data when, why and how," in the words of Katie Walsh, the RNC’s chief of staff.

But now it looks like the RNC has given up the fight.

Since then, the rhetoric has ratcheted down. Last week, i360 [the Koch data arm] and Data Trust [the RNC group] signed a deal to share data for the 2016 cycle.

"I do think there’s a value to making sure we’re all working together to ensure that we’re doing things efficiently and effectively. We appreciate everything the Kochs are doing, and it’s a huge help," Walsh told The Washington Post. "But at the end of the day, our focus is making sure that the voter file and the field staff are ready for the nominee to come in." […]

The RMC wanted to BE those “very strong, well financed individuals who have no accountability to anyone”, but now it’s official. The entire Republican Party is sucking nevermind.

From NY Times: Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas and a former state legislator, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of securities fraud and of failing to register with the state securities board, officials said.

The grand jury in the northern Dallas suburb of McKinney handed up a three-count indictment against Mr. Paxton on Tuesday, the officials said. The indictment is to be unsealed on Monday, when Mr. Paxton is expected to turn himself in to the authorities at the Collin County Jail.

The charges — two counts of first-degree securities fraud and one count of third-degree failure to register — are tied to Mr. Paxton’s work soliciting clients and investors for two companies while he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, before he was elected attorney general in November.

What could be more natural for Republicans than to put one of their fellow criminals in charge of prosecuting lawbreakers.

From The Hill: President Obama is looking to cement his legacy on climate change.

His administration will finalize sweeping new regulations on power plants on Monday, which is sure to spark a fight with Republicans in Congress.

In a video released early Sunday, Obama called the plan "the biggest, most important step we’ve ever taken to combat climate change."

 

Kudos to Obama. Because this will hit the Koch Brothers right in the wallet, expect the entire Republican Party to become so frantic that a WA-A-A-A-A-Ambulance will be needed.

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Aug 012015
 

I won’t be too verbose. because I’ve been up since 4:00 this morning, making the graphs and collecting the data for tomorrow’s Monthly Report.  I also made a rice, eggs, veggies, and chili concoction for two or three dinners.  After I get my articles up, it’s nap time.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:27 (4:32 Average).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Media Matters: Republican insiders are complaining that the right-wing media "is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections," according to a new Harvard report.

New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes, a Joan Shorenstein fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, spent nearly four months researching how the conservative media is increasingly influencing the Republican Party. She found "unanimity among establishment Republicans — many of them conservatives by the definition of anyone but purists — that rightwing media has become a big problem for the party, and their readiness to talk about it, was something of a surprise to this reporter of three decades’ experience in Washington."

Since its founding in 2004, Media Matters has documented the increasingly extreme rhetoric and policy positions of conservative media. But party Republicans are now complaining that conservative commentators, many of whom are lining their pockets with big salaries, are making it difficult for Republicans to govern and win national elections.

Dave Schnittger, a longtime former top aide to House Republican leaders, told Calmes that conservative media are loudest in opposing actions "that leaders have to get done as part of governing," such as meeting basic fiscal deadlines.

Another top Republican aide, who asked for anonymity, complained of the conservative media: "There’s no money, ratings or clicks in everyone going along to get along." Calmes added, "Asked whether he could offer examples of legislative outcomes affected by conservative media, this Republican all but snapped, ‘Sure. All of ’em.’ Does he worry more broadly then about the small-d democratic process? ‘Yeah, absolutely. Because the loudest voices drown out the sensible ones and there’s no real space to have serious discussions.’"

While what they say is essentially true, the article misses the real point. The biggest reason that the Republican Bubble Machine is so harmful to establishment Republicans is that by saying what the rabid base, recruited by those same establishment Republicans, wants to hear, they are making it more difficult for those establishment Republicans to mislead voters about their true intentions.

From Daily Kos: In one simple quote, Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. sums up the hypocrisy of some in the ‘pro-life’ movement:

"I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

This quote applies well to many Republican lawmakers and anti-choice extremists who continue to introduce/pass misogynist laws restricting a woman’s reproductive rights.

While I may disagree with the Sister’s views on a woman’s right to choose, I have to respect her belief. No respect is warranted for the beliefs of Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians, who preach that the right to life ends at birth, because they would impose their will on people who do not share their beliefs.

From YouTube: Hillary Clinton: ‘Racial disparities go against everything I believe in’

During a speech at the National Urban League conference, Hillary Clinton talks about racial inequality in America, saying unfortunately, race determines who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind. She says this occurs because of discrimination that is still ongoing.

 

You decide for yourselves, but I found her speech brilliant. I particularly like her political savvy in choosing Strike Three as the occupant of the Clown Car important enough to call out for his lies.

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Jul 312015
 

Dang!  Being out and about in that heat is miserable.  I’m sure glad I took water along.  The surgery went very well, it was painless, and my foot was much more painful when I went in than when I left.  I had to walk over a block from the lift bus to get home.  It was 95° at the time, and that really wiped me out.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

I am so proud of my fellow Portlanders’ heroism in yesterdays 103° heat, I just had to include this.

Cartoon:

0731Cartoon-TCHotOut

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Jul 302015
 

Yesterday brought a lot of frustration, because I spent most of it fighting with the Care2 Glitch monster, who insisted that I would not distribute my articles.  The heat wave has arrived in full force with 100°+ highs forecast for both today and tomorrow.  Tomorrow I have to go out in it to get my routine quarterly foot surgery.  I will be gone from early morning to middle afternoon, so expect no more than a Personal Update, and that late in the day.  ARGH!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:59 (average 5:06).  To di it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: For I will consider my Cat Cherie
for she is the very apotheosis of Cat-Beauty
which is to say, nothing extraordinary
for in the Cat, beauty is ordinary
like the bliss
conferred
upon us
in the hypnosis
of purr-
ing.
She has been known
to knead her claws
upon a sleeve.
And on a knee.
And on bare skin,
sharp claws sinking in—
just a warning.
For she is of the tribe of Tyger
and eyes burning bright
though cuddling
at night
until you wake to discover—
where is she? Cher-ie?
Don’t inquire.

Since we cats are infinitely worthy of homage, I have shared the first verse of a homage to cats. It’s purrrrfect, in my opinion. Click through for the rest.

From Daily Kos: Walter Palmer, the man who allegedly shot and killed Zimbabwe’s world-famous lion, is upset over the backlash:

In a statement to the Guardian, Palmer confirmed he had been in Zimbabwe in early July on a bow hunting trip. “I hired several professionals and they secured all proper permits,” said Palmer. “To my knowledge, everything about this trip was legal and properly handled and conducted.

This is so hideous. Honest disclosure demands that I share that I hunted in my youth. However, I was hunting for food, not trophies. I never killed anything I didn’t eat. Also, at least I hunted in the wild. This was a canned hunt where "guides" bring trophy animals to the lazy rich guy, who wants to kill it. As a measure of Palmer’s character, guess who else likes canned trophy hunting?

0730Cheney

From NY Times: A veteran House member from Philadelphia, one of his staff members, a lobbyist and two others were indicted Wednesday by the federal authorities in connection with bribery schemes and the misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal, charitable and campaign funds.

The representative, Chaka Fattah, a Democrat, spoke with members of the executive and legislative branches in 2008 to help the lobbyist get an ambassadorship or appointment to the United States Trade Commission. In exchange for his efforts, the F.B.I. said, Mr. Fattah received $18,000 from the associate that had been disguised “as a payment for a car sale that never actually took place.”

Mr. Fattah, 58, who ran for mayor of Philadelphia in 2007, also took funds from his mayoral and congressional campaigns to repay his son’s college debt, the F.B.I. said. In that scheme, Mr. Fattah and his staff member had his campaign pay a political consulting firm, which in turn made 34 payments on the loan for about $23,000.

Sadly corruption also exists on our side of the aisle, especially in cities known for big political machines, like Philadelphia and Chicago. The best things Democrats can do is root out the corruption within our party, instead of protecting corrupt politicians like Republicans do.

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Jul 292015
 

Last week I had a small but thoroughly enjoyable meeting with five of my guys.  The prison fouled-up the turnout, so ten were not released for it.  We discussed the importance of maintaining an ongoing personal inventory, and using it as a tool to recognize when we are wrong, admit it, make amends, and learn from it.  As always, I could not be more proud of them.  It was very hot, as the Activities section is over the kitchen.  I feel tired and sore, but I did get some good sleep last might.  Today is a grocery delivery day, so I have some cleaning to do in preparation.  The forecast high is 95° and will not dip below 90° until 8/3 at the earliest, so the next heat wave is officially here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 5/26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Changing austerity measures starts with changing how we value our own work.

Like the frog in the pot that didn’t know it was boiling until it was too late, some of us have gotten used to these things. But some of us haven’t and aren’t willing to. Like Agnes Török, who filmed this moving poem that puts into words the frustrations so many of us have felt.

Her words are inspiration for those of us who’ve internalized economic disparities as our own character failures.

 

This hero truly understands Republican tinkle down policies. Kudos.

From The New Yorker: In what critics are calling a desperate attempt to draw the media’s attention away from Donald Trump, the other fifteen candidates for the Republican nomination have released a joint sex tape.

The tape, including such luminaries as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, appeared briefly on major news Web sites before an avalanche of viewer revulsion demanded it be taken down.

According to Carol Foyler, a viewer who happened to catch the tape during its brief appearance on the CNN Web site, the video contained images “I may never be able to get out of my mind.”

“I couldn’t believe that these people would participate in such a thing,” she said. “Except maybe Santorum.”

Dang Andy! Lindsey Poo was a bottom.  I have no doubt that Frothy was the man on dog, but do we need to change a name from "Upchuck Huck" to "Buttf*** Huck"? Smile with tongue out

From Washington Post: Openly gay Americans can now legally marry, serve in the military (as long as you’re not transgender) and, as of Monday, lead a Boy Scout troop.

So what can’t they do? In fact, there are still several things gay Americans can’t do that straight Americans might take for granted.

We did some research and talked to the Human Rights Campaign’s legal director, Sarah Warbelow, to find out what openly gay Americans are still fighting for.

1. Give blood

This prohibition is specifically for gay and bisexual men, whom the federal government prohibited from donating blood in 1983, during the AIDS epidemic.

The Obama administration recently lifted the ban, but with one very important caveat: A man can only donate blood if he hasn’t had sexual relations with another man in the past year. The ruling was disappointing to LGBT rights groups.

"That’s really unrealistic to ask people," Warebelow said — "especially those who are in long-term relationships."

2. Be protected from housing discrimination in 28 states

In 28 states that don’t include sexual orientation in their housing discrimination laws, gay and lesbian Americans can be denied an apartment to rent, a home to buy or obtain a mortgage on the basis of their sexual orientation.

In the 30 states that don’t ban housing discrimination based on gender identity, transgender Americans face the same possibility.

3. Be protected from business discrimination in 28 states

In 28 states, gay and lesbian Americans can get kicked out of a restaurant, be refused services by a hairdresser or asked to leave a shopping mall. That number’s even higher for transgender people, who don’t have similar protections in 32 states.

The federal government also has no law prohibiting LGBT discrimination in public spaces and services.

In the states and cities that do have anti-discrimination laws — including about a dozen cities in Indiana — some conservatives have successfully pushed for a religious freedom bill to give extra legal protections to service providers who refuse LGBT Americans.

Click through for the other four. The battle against the Republican Reich for LGBT equality has just begun.

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Where InsaniTEA rules supreme.

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Jul 282015
 

I’m hurrying to get today’s articles up as early as I can, as later I’m going to prison to do volunteer work.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day.  Portland us under a heat advisory.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:20 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PRWatch: At the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) 2015 annual meeting in San Diego, California, dirty energy companies and their supporters–including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Duke Energy–continue to dominate the funding of activities, according to a list of conference sponsors obtained jointly by the Center for Media and Democracy and Greenpeace. At the top of the agenda, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke to ALEC delegates over breakfast on Thursday. Walker is now campaigning on a promise to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if elected President in 2016, a plan which was earlier debated by ALEC at its December 2014 conference and is in line with ALEC’s long-term legislative agenda. At ALEC conferences and meetings, rhetoric against the EPA–and in particular the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution–is frequently extreme.

Click through for more, including a list of sponsors to boycott.

From Daily Kos: Spot the difference

Last year, a Nevada rancher who boasts that he doesn’t “recognize the United States government as even existing” become a hero of Fox News pundits and other conservative commentators for refusing to pay grazing fees he owes the government.

But when a black woman named Sandra Bland was forced out of her car and to the ground by a Texas police officer after she reportedly failed to signal during a lane switch and declined to put out a cigarette, Fox News thinks this is a time to lecture viewers on how to be respectful to law enforcement. Bland later died in police custody in what investigators ruled was a suicide. –

White men defending a criminal, facing down gubbmint agencies with many, many guns, good.

African American Woman armed with a cigarette, bad. The policeman was being exposed to second hand smoke for crissakes!

The contrast is absurd, intolerable, and Republican.

From NY Times: His family called him unstable and violent, so John R. Houser was ordered by a judge to be taken against his will to a mental hospital in 2008. Despite that sign that Mr. Houser was mentally troubled, he passed a background check and was able to legally purchase the gun he used last week to kill two people in a Louisiana movie theater, because that hospital stay was not defined by officials as an involuntary commitment.

Dylann Roof, who is charged with shooting nine people to death in a Charleston, S.C., church last month, was also able to buy the gun he used in the massacre. He should have failed a background check, federal officials said, because he had previously admitted to illegal drug possession. Yet because of a clerical error in South Carolina and the confusion that caused the federal authorities who examined his record, he was not stopped from his making his purchase.

As these two cases show, the one system that gun rights and gun control advocates both agree on, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is supposed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, is riddled with problems. While the system, in operation since 1998, has prevented more than 2.4 million sales, it still has major gaps, with spotty cooperation from the states and a narrow definition of who is considered too mentally ill to own a gun.

Republicans work overtime to keep the system ridden with loopholes, because enabling criminal gun purchases maximizes gun industry profits.

Cartoon:

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Jul 272015
 

I’m trying to take advantage of the last relatively temperate day, before the new heat wave begins in earnest.  I got up early and cooked a 3-day spaghetti with hot Italian sausage dinner.  Then I made a big breakfast of fried eggs and potatoes.  Because my friend with cancer is taking a rare trip to the prison tomorrow, I get to take a volunteer day with a small group of my guys for a CoDA meeting.  Then on Friday, I have to go out into the extreme heat for the routine quarterly surgery on my foot, so please expect me to be somewhat scarce for the rest of the week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:06 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Tips:

Our season opens on Thursday, September 10, but there’s a lot to do between now and then.  Get to know your players.  Check for Bye week conflicts.  Keep track of injuries.  Follow your players’ progress during preseasons. Use Add/Drop to make needed changes from unclaimed players or propose trades with competitors.  If you have any questions ask.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (classic 6/2014): America’s gun death rates — both nationwide and in the states — dwarf those of most other Western industrialized nations. The gun death rate in the United Kingdom in 2011 was 0.23 per 100,000 while in Australia it was 0.86 per 100,000.

States with the Five Highest Gun Death Rates 

(Rank State Household Gun Ownership Gun Death Rate Per 100,000)

1 Louisiana 45.6 percent 18.91

2 Mississippi 54.3 percent 17.80

3 Alaska 60.6 percent 17.41

4 Wyoming 62.8 percent 16.92

5 Montana 61.4 percent 16.74

States with the Five Lowest Gun Death Rates

(Rank State Household Gun Ownership Gun Death Rate Per 100,000)

50 Rhode Island 13.3 percent 3.14

49 Hawaii 9.7 percent 3.56

48 Massachusetts 12.8 percent 3.84

47 New York 18.1 percent 5.11

46 New Jersey 11.3 percent 5.46

For a list of gun death rates in all 50 states, Visit Here.

This is what I’d expect except for one thing. NJ hadn’t caught up to PIGnocchio’s policies yet.

From The New Yorker: The Republican National Committee has released the format for its first 2016 Presidential debate, to be broadcast by Fox News on August 6th:

1. Question from moderator to Donald Trump;

2. Ignoring of question by Donald Trump, followed by personal attack on Jeb Bush;

3. Feeble attempt at rebuttal by Jeb Bush;

4. Interruption by Donald Trump, followed by attack on other eight candidates on stage;

Andy has it pegged. Click through for the rest.

From NY Times: Rick Perry’s voice softens when he talks about the joy he gets from looking at his iPad and seeing “that 20-week picture of my first grandbaby.” Marco Rubio says ultrasounds of his sons and daughters reinforced how “they were children — and they were our children.” Rand Paul recalls watching fetuses suck their thumbs. And Chris Christie says the ultrasound of his first daughter changed his views on abortion.

If they seem to be reading from the same script, they are.

With help from a well-funded, well-researched and invigorated anti-abortion movement, Republican politicians have refined how they are talking about pregnancy and abortion rights, choosing their words in a way they hope puts Democrats on the defensive.

The goal, social conservatives say, is to shift the debate away from the “war on women” paradigm that has proved so harmful to their party’s image.

The Republican war on women has changed little, as barefoot and pregnant is still the objective. They are just using an even less honest tactic.

Cartoon:

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Apologies to the snake.

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